The Benefits of a Plant-Based Pregnancy – with Kylie Buckner, RN

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published October 4, 2018
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Pregnancy – with Kylie Buckner, RN

Podcast Transcript

Kasey Johnson, DC: Hey everyone! This is Dr. Kasey Johnson. Thank you so much for taking time to listen to the Unlock Wellness Podcast. You’re going to love today’s episode with Kylie Buckner. Kylie is doing some amazing work, so I’m excited to have share her story with you guys. If you’ve been loving the Unlock Wellness Podcast, be sure to jump on to iTunes, subscribe, and write a review. It really helps me out a lot, and I really appreciate all of the feedback and support.

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Thank you again for listening, I hope this episode leaves you feeling inspired to start making positive changes to your health. Now it’s time for today’s episode, I hope you love my conversation with Kylie Buckner.

Welcome to the Unlock Wellness Podcast, I’m Dr. Kasey and excited for today’s guest, I’m here with Kylie Buckner. Kylie is a nurse, yoga instructor, and has a large focus on assisting pregnant women, who want to adopt a plant-based diet. She’s also part of the Mastering Diabetes team, and is married to Dr. Cyrus Khambatta, who was also a past Podcast guest on Episode 117, so be sure to go back and check out that episode, which also included Robby Barbaro, and they’re both amazing. So, be sure to go check it out. But, I’m extremely excited to have Kylie on the show, to share her story, and just all of the amazing work that she’s doing. So, Kylie, thank you so much for taking time to come on, I’m excited to have you.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Thank you! And thank you so much for having me, and I’m really glad to be here.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah, you know, before we dive into everything that you’re working on, why don’t you start with your backstory? Where are you from, and what’s your own personal health and wellness look like growing up?

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Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, sure. So, I’m originally from the East Coast in Pennsylvania and I grew up there, in a pretty small town, and we actually had a lot of farms in our area, so there was often a lot of fresh produce, and fresh foods available to us. And I was actually brought up with limited sugar access, my mom was really focused on sugar, and hidden sugars, so there was, sort of this awareness of what we were eating as I was growing up, and it was really important to her to feed us meals that she prepared. So, there wasn’t a lot of exposure to a lot fast foods and things like that.

We also didn’t have a lot of these type of restaurants available to us, so I was actually very, very lucky in that sense, that I was sort of brought up with some awareness of the food that I was eating. I know appreciate that much more, now that I’m doing some of the work that I’m doing now, it really helped me make my transition that much easier.

But we were still feed a pretty standard diet, you know, there was meat and cheese, a lot of dairy. There was a lot of farms around of us, so. That was very abundant too. And throughout my life, I also actually had some pretty bad GI complications, like I was, I had as it turns out, as I got into my adult years I learned I had IBS, and I never really understood it.

And, so, all throughout my life I was having these background sort of issues, like eczema, and some acne, and some little things going on, but I never really had any issues with my weight, or I never had a diagnosis of anything that sort of made me say, “Oh, I should change something”. This is sort of this underlying stuff that I didn’t really understand.

And I ended up going to nursing school, and I became a nurse, and as a nurse, I really went into nursing with this idea of wellness and health promotion and really wanting to help people become healthy. And I ended up spending a lot of my career as a nurse in the hospital in neonatal intensive care nursing, and there is nutrition discussion every day, because we were taking care of food for babies and talking about nutrition, how are we going to ensure that these small babies are getting adequate nutrition. So, there’s this underlying nutrition conversation happening and learning about all these different macronutrients and things like that.

And, again, when I look back, I think about all these little ties to nutrition in my life. And it wasn’t until, it was about 2011, when I had some friends who were actually exploring a plant-based diet. And they were reading The China Study, and they handed me the book, and they were like, “I really think you’ll like this. You should check it out”. And I already, I thought I was eating a really healthy diet. It was a lot of fresh foods, kind of similar to how I grew up, but still had lots of meat, cheeses in it, some dairy. And I read The China Study, and I just remember, I was just like “This just makes so much sense!”

And I was still working in this mother/baby world, and taking care of women who had health complications during pregnancy, and sometimes that’s what led them towards a premature delivery. And I just remember thinking at the time, how is all healthcare not reading this book and applying this. This plant-based nutrition. I really was, I remember thinking, as a nurse, I’m very confused, “Why? Why is nobody just putting this in all nursing units in the hospital?”

Kasey Johnson, DC: I think that’s why so many people get like, almost turned like angry vegan, like “Why doesn’t everybody apply this?”, or at least “Why isn’t it being taught more?”, if there’s so much data backing it up.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, for sure. That was the thing. I was in the profession of Nursing, you know, one thing that’s really significant is that we are taught to follow the evidence, follow the evidence, follow the evidence. Follow the science. And when I was in grad school, we did a lot of evidence-based research, and that was one of the things that really jumped out at me about this, about The China Study in particular, was just how strong the evidence was. That science piece of it.

So, I was actually going through a really big transition in my life at that point also. And so, as I was learning more about how to become vegan, and how to become plant-based, how to make this transition, I had some help with my friends that were also exploring, were also making this transition as well, which was awesome. But I kind of, just gradually started making changes in my diet, and I started taking food out. And you know, by the time, five or six months rolled by, I was like, “Oh, I’m officially no longer eating any animal product”. So, it was actually pretty easy in that way, I just sort of this very slow elimination.

Kasey Johnson, DC: That’s awesome!

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah! And it was really supportive for me to do something really healthy to support myself in a time where my life was actually going into another direction. And so, it was around about mid-2012, that I actually moved to California. And, I’m a nurse, so I took a travel nursing job and had this opportunity to go and explore a little bit, and then ended up in San Francisco. And, from where I was living on the East Coast, when I would talk about what I was eating, it was very confusing for people.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I grew up in West Virginia so, pretty similar. I understand.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. So, it was very difficult. And I was trying to navigate this, I was trying to explain to people I was eating differently, and not everybody understood it, and I was working in the hospital with a lot of doctors and nurses, and I remember hearing a lot of very negative feedback from the people I was working with, and people I’ve worked with for many, many years.

I remember feeling like, you know, “Wow, our healthcare system it really, there’s a lot of barriers around this”. And that was my initial impression, even the people I felt close to in healthcare seemed very against this process, for me. It was a personal choice for myself, I just wanted to achieve the best health I could. So, then, I moved to California where the choices got much easier. The conversations got much easier. It was definitely still, there still would be conversations about it, but it wasn’t as, you know, definitely in California, definitely felt much easier to maintain a diet that was maybe not the mainstream way of eating.

Kasey Johnson, DC: And now, it’s just… I mean, it’s so normal there, I’m sure! Because, what year was that?

Kylie Buckner, RN: That was 2012.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Ok, yeah. So, I mean, even now, I mean, I feel there’s new plant-based restaurants popping up over there, just left and right, right now specially.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, absolutely.

Kasey Johnson, DC: So, where did it kind of go once you, I mean, you moved there, obviously there’s a whole lot more options, a lot more resources, and probably a lot more people to kind of have that community with, right?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, for sure. And actually pretty soon after I moved there I met Cyrus. And you know, when we first met, I remember him telling me he was living type 1 diabetes, and then he told how much fruit he ate, and I was shocked, I was amazed, I was like “What are you telling me?”, because with how my sort of traditional nursing background had been taught, when you live with diabetes you can’t eat carbohydrates, it’s not good, and it makes you have to use more insulin, and makes your blood glucose go high.

So, he was just filling me on what he had learned for himself, and he has just finished his studies, his PhD program. So, I was just completely fascinated by the whole thing. And you know, we both were kind of, I told him I was also vegan and exploring this for my health and I was explaining to him the resources that I was looking at, The China Study, and all these other resources. It was a really great connection for us. And then, he was helping me kind of understand the nutrition that I was getting.

So, you know, the first couple of months I was vegan, I would say probably my diet wasn’t as nutritious. It’s definitely evolved over time.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Right. Well, we get rid of the processed stuff at first, then it’s easier from there. What was the major changes? Did you start adding in more fruit? Or what worked best for you?

Kylie Buckner, RN: I would say nutrition labels. Reading nutrition labels, really understanding what sugar means. He definitely, you know, we teach that in our program as well. That was a key piece, the salt, the sugar and the oil. All of these things added in. And when you start reading nutrition labels, and really seeing what’s being added to processed food it’s crazy.

So, you know, and having somebody to explore this with, made it more much fun. Let’s try making this, and not use the oil and not use the salt. That made the process more fun, for sure. And then, I would say, one of the things that I learned from him too in that first year I was still navigating it was how my body feel. And as a yogi, I was very connected to my body, and my movement and my breath and all of these things. But he really helped me connect the dots on like, “well, how are you feeling?”, because, you know, like I said, I was living with some digestive discomfort and some skin issues for many, many years, and I started noticing this things slowly, and slowly improving.

So, I believed I had a level of inflammation that was underlying some of these things that now I don’t really worry about. I don’t have to do it anymore. And, you know, it took time for that process to unfold and move through. But it was something that, you know, learning to listen to your body, connected those dots about, “Okay, what do you feel when you eat that fruit? That was high in oil, or high in sugar, or something”, you know, how do you connect those dots. It was really great person to have on my side as I was learning this whole process to begin with, and more, and more about nutrition.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah, I think it’s all about, like you’re saying, it’s all about the body awareness. Everything that you’re doing, whether it’s what you’re eating or the fitness you’re doing like, not every form of fitness is meant for every kind of person. So, it’s just being super aware of yourself and realizing it’s not cookie cutter. As far as yoga, when did you start being an instructor for that?

Kylie Buckner, RN: I completed my teacher training in San Francisco in 2016. So, I’ve been practicing, I’d had a pretty regular practice prior to moving to California and then in San Francisco the yoga community there is amazing. So, I really leaned into that as I was in that space of, some healing and just learning to love my life, and learning more about presence, and about connection. And I loved the yoga community in San Francisco. I ended up following this really phenomenal teacher, and she was offering a teacher training and I completed my training in 2016.

And it was a really great connection for me because, with my nursing background especially, because this whole idea of mind-body connection, you know, understanding how we’re feeling and trusting in that, and leaning into maybe even sometimes some discomfort and understanding where the boundaries fit in. And our yoga practice is very much, you know, when you’re on the mat practicing it it’s exploring those boundaries, and I think that that’s really applicable to our everyday life. And once we’re off the mat, understanding how to set and hold boundaries for ourselves and also understanding what our body is feeling and how to navigate that.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I love that, it’s very well said, and 100% agree. Kylie, for you, you have a very big, big interest in helping pregnant women kind of switch into a plant-based way of eating. And there’s, like we were talking before we started recording, there’s not a whole lot of information out there, and I think there’s a lot of fear that goes behind that as well. And I get. I’ve been pregnant and I understand, there are a lot of things that can scare you, you know. But yeah, so I think that’s a very important topic and I’m glad that you’re working on putting a lot more information out there. So, how did that become an interest for you? I mean, just because you just had that background and kind of came to you one day, “I’m into this, but there’s not a whole lot available.”

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. I mean, my nursing while I was working in the hospital setting, and I spent time also in outpatient OB GYN clinic, I spent almost 18 years working as a nurse in that type of a setting. And I spent years in management at bedside nursing as an educator. So I’ve really explored the healthcare system from so many different angles and, you know, once of the things that really, I mean, I love the mother-baby experience, it’s a special time and it’s something that I really connected with in my nursing practice. So, and having being a NICU nurse and seeing these, I guess, when you look at health and the wellness of a mother who’s pregnant and offering nutrition to their growing baby, to me, it just makes sense to offer pregnant women the healthiest diet, the most nutritious diet, because their bodies are providing everything for their baby. And not only that, but for their own well-being.

I mean, we have so many women who are living with, you know, they get diagnosed with things like gestational diabetes and hypertension, and so many conditions are diagnosed during pregnancy. And a lot of these things are actually, what I’m finding and what I’m learning more and more about, is that they’re really connected to the root of insulin resistance. And so, if that’s something that we can address at the bottom, and through a plant-based diet, then how many more lives are going to be impacted by that. Not just the mother’s life, but the baby’s life.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah. I think it’s interesting too, Kylie, because people will get kind of iffy if they want to go plant-based while they’re pregnant, but you know, you have to look at the average diet of an American pregnant women, it’s not great. There’s a lot of junk food unfortunately. And unfortunately, I feel like a majority of women that are pregnant, not all, but a large portion kind of, once they’re pregnant develop this mentality of “I need to eat so many more calories and it doesn’t matter what I eat because I’m hungry and the baby needs it.”, or maybe you’re not even hungry but when you tell yourself that, and that junk food is okay, you’re going to eat more of it.

And when, you and I know that really the calorie increase isn’t that much more, and obviously it’s not true that you can just eat what you want, you know, there’s just so many negative things that can happen by having that mentality, and then obviously, like you said, you’re developing a baby with the food that you take in. So, yeah. I just think it’s just so interesting the mentality of “I can eat what I want when I’m pregnant, because I just can”. It’s crazy.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, and that’s the… I mean, just to kind of back up a little bit. One of the reasons I’ve actually taken a bigger interest recently is that, in our program, we have a lot of women that are in our coaching program for the purpose of reversing insulin resistance, maybe they have type 2 diabetes, or PCOS, there’s something that brought them into our program and maybe they’re exploring pregnancy, or they want to conceive, or they are pregnant. And they have a lot of questions for us about “Is this still okay? Can I still eat plant-based?” And even for myself, exploring potential pregnancy like that, to me, it’s a big question.

I’ve been plant-based now, for so many years, I wouldn’t change anything about my diet at this point. So it got me really curious. Where is the information on this, and why are we not seeing more about it, about having a healthy plant-based pregnancy.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Right. What are some of the biggest mythbusters that you’re coming across as you’re doing your research?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. That’s a really good question. Okay, so the first one, just like you’ve brought up, was about calories and pregnancy, and that you sort of have this unlimited options of eating. And one of the, I think there’s that misconceptions of “I’m eating for two”, and you’re not. And a lot of women do experience cravings for things, and that’s totally normal. But in the first trimester of pregnancy, for the first 13 weeks, most women do not need any additional calories. Our bodies are really, really good at storing nutrition and for good part of that time, the growing baby doesn’t actually even get anything from the mother’s body. So, there’s actually no additional calories needed in the first trimester for most women. And you know, there are some circumstances where there might be and that’s usually for women who are underweight going into pregnancy, but for most women there’s no additional increase needed.

In the second trimester, weeks 14 to 26 or 27, you need about 350 calories more a day. And I always like to say, that’s like 3 bananas worth of calories. Like, it’s not that many more, it’s not that much food actually. And if you look at it from that standpoint it’s like, “Well, if I just eat a banana a couple of times a day, then I’m gonna give my baby, not only the calories that I’m eating, but also some phenomenal nutrition from a piece of fruit.”

And then the third trimester and beyond, and that includes the time during breastfeeding, if you do choose to breastfeed that it would be closer to 500 calories extra a day. So, actually you need more calories and more energy in your body to produce breast milk. And that’s another misconception, that you need more calories during pregnancy and actually the majority of the calories are going to come in when you’re feeding your baby, if you’re making breast milk.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah. That’s definitely an exhausting time, so I agree with that. It’s crazy. And not to mention, Kylie, the effects afterwards, not just with breastfeeding but I mean, not like just the mom with breastfeeding because obviously that takes more energy, but what you’re still taking in, that’s still going directly to the baby through the breast milk. So, it’s just so important and it’s gonna affect not only your baby’s immune system, but also your own immune system and how quickly you bounce back to a normal weight, hormone balance, your energy, because I think now more than ever, we’re seeing so much postpartum depression, and it’s really hard, because I understand a lot of women really deal with this, and it’s awful, and yeah. So I think a lot of that can be helped, just by having better hormone balance, better weight loss after the fact which obviously a plant-based diet is going to help you get there a lot faster.

Kylie Buckner, RN: For sure. Well, and you know, as far as eating more food, the one thing about a plant-based diet is that if you’re eating your food from whole plants, you can eat an abundance of them. I mean, the calorie density is so different that if you’re somebody who’s really hungry and wants to eat, a plant-based diet is ideal, because you can eat as much as you want, and all you’re going to be doing is adding more and more nutrition into your body, which is the phenomenal part about eating, especially fruits and vegetables, and whole grains and legumes. It’s phenomenal, it’s fun, you get to eat what you want.

Kasey Johnson, DC: It gives you more freedom! Because, by any means, Kylie and I are telling you if you’re pregnant to count calories and be super restrictive, it’s not about that. But if you’re putting the right things in, you can eat what you want. And that’s kind of freeing, and it takes a lot of stress out of it, and you don’t have to worry as much. It’s very cool to be able to eat what you want, and your health be even more abundant than it was.

You know, like I was telling you before Kylie, I went plant-based about two months after I had our daughter, and it was cool because it just helped me so quickly. Right after I had her, I had mastitis, and it’s awful, I don’t wish it on anybody, it’s awful. But I was dealing with that for a few months, and I’ve researching plant-based, decided one day after, it was just a miserable day of just painful breast feeding, I felt sick, it was just awful, I was just like sitting there with my husband and I’m like, “Yeah, I’m going, I’m gonna cut out dairy. I need to decrease inflammation, but if I cut out dairy, I’m cutting out meat too”, and that was it. That was it, right there. And I don’t think I had any more flare-ups after that, and the pregnancy weight came off so fast, and then some. The weight that I wanted to lose before I was pregnant, came off even after that.

So, it was this like, it was so amazing. And not to mention just the health benefits I’ve seen from our daughter, she eats this way now, she’s almost 3. Never sick. She’s just amazing, her energy is just so high. It’s just cool seeing how quickly it can have a positive effect on, not only me, but her and it’s just really, really amazing.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s amazing. And the fact that she’s never sick, I mean, I think that’s something some kind of live in fear of, you know, sanitize everything, and to think of that with the nutrition that you’re getting from your food, you could potentially reduce some of that illness is amazing.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah, definitely! And so, what are you doing with Mastering Diabetes? So, are you going to have like a separate section for gestational diabetes? Because I think it would be a cool addition.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, for sure. Yes, we are, it’s in the works. So, we’re kind of, we have a couple of really cool things that we’re hoping to be able to start launching soon, maybe in early 2019. But, yeah, I’m basically doing a lot of this sort of background work right now on gestational diabetes, women living with diabetes who are pregnant and wanting to maintain plant-based pregnancy, women who… I just wrote an article on PCOS, and we’re going to be posting that soon because PCOS is a very important women health topic, and you know, there’s a lot of misinformation in PCOS.

So, I would say there’s going to be more to come from Mastering Diabetes. Because, one of the things about Mastering Diabetes that I’ve really come to appreciate is that, we kind of take that next step down, which is that level of insulin resistance. We talk about insulin resistance all the time, and you know, that’s kind of the root of gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases, and hypertension. So, when you dig down a little bit deeper, you get to that next level and you really understand what’s happening inside your body, then all of these things can really fall into place, and resolve. And we do that, by using food as medicine, and food as a nutritional source to heal your body. And it’s been amazing the transformation that I’ve seen in the past year.

So, I’ve been working primarily with Mastering Diabetes for the last year. Obviously, I was involved with it as it was growing, but now I’m actually working directly with Mastering Diabetes every day, and the transformations are just phenomenal. And just watching the way that people’s bodies respond when you start adding in whole fresh foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, that’s pretty much the premise of our program, and we help people navigate that transition. So, even if you don’t have, I mean, I think back of all the time about when I was going through that transition, and I think “Gosh, I wish there were a program to teach me, how do I shop in the grocery store, and how do I eat in a restaurant, and what do I ask for.” So, these are the conversations that we’re having every day. And you know, adding the pregnancy piece in, I think is going to really support a lot of women who are looking for information in gestational diabetes, and how to keep themselves and their growing baby as healthy as possible until they deliver.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I love that. And if you guys are listening, definitely go check out Mastering Diabetes. They have, like she was talking about, they have a program that you can do, that’s kind of linked to community as well, so you always have support. And then, they also have a Podcast where they talk to just all kind of, I mean, from health professionals to success stories come on there too, right?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, absolutely.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah. And actually I was on there a while back too, I don’t know what episode. I don’t know what episode it was. But, I mean, they’re doing some really amazing work so, you know, go check them out and give them a follow on social media as well. Or, if you know someone who has diabetes send them that way, because it’s just so full of research and amazing stories, I love it.

And Kylie, you’re also doing more writing with the pregnancy side as well. Are you working on a resource book, or what are you kind of working on as far as just writing and making content to put out there to help people?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. So, I’m working on a website, it’s taking a little longer to launch, I don’t have a lot of experience with that, so.

Kasey Johnson, DC: So, you’re like on University YouTube right now?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah actually, I would love that resource, I need like all the help I can take right now. So, I’m trying to, yeah, I’m basically writing some content, and I actually have a domain called MyPlantBasedPregnancy.com, and so, we bought that, and it’s sort of just sitting there in cyberspace at the moment until we can actually put some content in there. And you know, make it some place where people can go for some How-To’s.

I’m very much like, I’m a checklist person, and I think from being in healthcare for so long, checklists helped save people’s lives, you know, we use checklists to make sure that we are accountable for what we do, and they build accountability, they help you stay on point, on focus. So, you know, I kind of envision some information, plus some “Here’s some How-To’s”, you know. How to talk to your doctor about this. How to log your food.

That’s another kind of really important topic, I think a lot of women wonder, “Well, how do I know I’m getting enough nutrition. Like, I went to my OB visit, and I got a prescription for a prenatal vitamin, and I was told not to eat certain food”, there’s usually some conversation about nutrition or food, but it’s usually about things to avoid, you know. Avoiding alcohol, and avoiding certain foods during pregnancy, but I wouldn’t say most OBs have the resources to talk about how you could actually get the nutrients that you need during pregnancy from your food.

So, one thing that I can’t, I think it’s just such a phenomenal tool, is to start logging your food. And I don’t know if you’ve ever practiced food logging before.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah, I haven’t done it in a while, but I need to because every time that I do, it’s eye-opening, especially when you start, it’s really great to do if you feel like, you know when you kind of feel like you’re getting off track a little bit. I know we’re both plant-based, I mean even, you can be plant-based and get off track a little bit, like there’s Beyond Burgers slipping in a little bit. I just actually bought some today.

Kylie Buckner, RN: No judgment.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Oh yeah, no judgment. No, but I mean, it’s easy to get off track sometimes when you get busy, and then like, that doesn’t help with stress at all, so, I think food logging is great.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, it’s amazing. And it’s a tool that we promote in our program as well. So, I’ve been talking about it, so finally back in the spring I was like, “Well, let me start logging my food”, I haven’t done it, I was like, “Oh, let me do it.” So, I started logging my food, and I was blown away by what I saw, because I eat a diet that’s primarily fruits and vegetables during the day, and grains and legumes.

First of all, when it comes to pregnancy the first thing that they tell you is that is Folic Acid, you need Folic Acid, because folate is a nutrient that comes, it’s a mineral that comes in plants, it comes in leafy green vegetables and fruits, and it helps prevents birth defects in growing babies, and it’s really important at the beginning of pregnancy.

Well, what I found was on any given day, I was getting like 300% over the recommended limit of folate from my food. And the wonderful thing about that, is that when you are given a supplement of folic acid, it’s not absorbed as well as the way folate is absorbed inside your body. So, you know, folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. And it’s important that, if you don’t know if you’re getting enough folate, then it’s very important to take folic acid. But, what I’ve learned is I’m getting way more than what the daily recommendations are for folate, so, even during pregnancy.

So, I was really, kind of opening my eyes to certain vitamins and minerals that are, again, where I maybe a little deficient, where is there something that I might actually need to talk to my doctor about, maybe I’m not getting enough calcium, okay, how do I meet my calcium needs without adding dairy products in. So, food logging helps you understand what you’re eating, so that you can then go have an informed conversation with your physician. And, you know, because supplements are important if you’re deficient in something, or if you’re not meeting that nutrient. So, you know, this isn’t a “we don’t need supplements” conversation, because if you’re deficient in something, it might be important for you to take that, and that’s where having an information available first, to go have that informed conversation with your physician is just, you know, I think that’s a really empowering tool to have in your tool belt when you’re approaching pregnancy or maybe considering pregnancy, preconception time, or if you find yourself, you know, if you are pregnant.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I 100% agree with that. And do you, whenever you do your food logs, do you use like an app, that kind of break downs your nutrients. What app do you like to use?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Chronometer

Kasey Johnson, DC: I actually just saw that. I saw somebody post that on their Instagram story, I’m going to check that out, so.

Kylie Buckner, RN: It’s awesome. They have a couple of different versions. But you can change the settings, you can make your own recipe if there’s like a recipe you’re making often, you don’t have to put in each individual ingredient. You can create recipes really easily. They are wonderful, it’s a wonderful app. And you can add in your fitness and your hydration, and whatever, and it tells you all, it’s a full breakdown of all minerals, vitamins. Your macronutrients.

And that was another area I was really surprised, was with my macronutrients, I think a lot of people often go to the protein conversation, and during pregnancy proteins do need to increase slightly. But I found that, from what I was logging in my regular diet, just my regular average day worth of food, I was meeting the recommendations for any stage of pregnancy with my protein from plants.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Yeah. Now, you do hear that a lot, and you know, I wasn’t plant-based until that second month after pregnancy, but I think shakes saved me, but I was using a plant-based powder at that point. Like a raw, whole food powder, so. I think that really helped me a lot at that point, but I was also, the first trimester I was very, very sick. The first trimester, I think I lost 10 pounds because I was so sick, and so, shakes kind of saved me. But at the same time, I wasn’t eating a whole lot because I was so sick, so the shakes probably just kept me kind of imbalanced. But the protein thing, you do hear that a lot. Do you think that if somebody is lacking protein, that causes increased sickness? Because that’s something, I don’t know if you have come across on your research. You always kind of hear that, I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah. We’ve addressed that question from time to time, and really, I mean severe protein deficiencies. We’re talking about malnourishment. That can be very dangerous for sure. What the recommendations for protein are, is actually weight based. So, it’s 0.3 grams per pound of weight, so it’s like a really good jumping off point for your proteins. And that’s of your ideal weight, your ideal body weight. So, you first have to calculate what your ideal body weight is, and then go into that calculation. And for most women, the actual protein needs, non-pregnant, is about somewhere between 38 to 45 grams per day. And for men it’s a little bit more. But during pregnancy, the protein needs to increase, but I was, I average, most days I’m averaging 48 to 60 grams of protein from, a lot of it it’s from beans, a lot of it from whole vegetables, fruits. All of these foods that we’re eating that are whole foods, have protein. They have carbohydrate, fat and protein.

And so, when you start logging that, and seeing just how many grams of protein you get in a day. Like, I’ve never, I can’t think of a day when I logged my food that I haven’t met at least that minimum value, and then I know now that if I add a cup of beans, I’m going to bump that right up.

Kasey Johnson, DC: And you know, just not speaking on pregnancy at all, but just as a non-pregnant society, we consume way too much protein. And I think once you, and I’m sure you notice this too Kylie, once you cut it down, you feel so much better, and the weight comes down a whole lot faster.

Kylie Buckner, RN: So true, so true. Yeah.

Kasey Johnson, DC: That’s super interesting. I’m excited for your website. I think you’re going to put out a lot of content that’s really gonna help a lot of people, and a lot of moms, because like you said, that information is not as available as it should be. Even the stuff that’s available, it’s not super researched influenced. It’s more kind of like an opinionated blog, which is cool too, but I love how research focus you are, I mean really you and Dr. Cyrus do an amazing job at that. So, I’m excited for you, Kylie.

And, is there anything else that you’re working on in the future that you just want to put out there and share with people, or continue to just get your site up and running, work on Mastering Diabetes, writing?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Yeah, I’m working on those two things primarily. I’m also introducing a coaching program that is geared towards the first few days, and few weeks, after pregnancy. After birth, I’m sorry, after birth. Because I spent a lot of time, again, with women in that time frame, and parents in that time frame, new parents. And, it ends up what I envision this being, and I’m actually working with my first official client starting soon. We’re going to be bringing my nursing background, and my yogi background together a little bit.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I love it!

Kylie Buckner, RN: Mindfulness techniques, a lot of things to stay present and focused on where you are with that process, and that transition. I’m really passionate about mindful transitions in general, and that transition of birthing your baby, to now being this parent to this new person is a huge transition, and you know, I feel like I would love to see so much more time spend in that space. So, yeah, I’m working on that too. I got quite a few things going on here, so.

Kasey Johnson, DC: I love that! And I agree with you on that, people spending more time on that space because it’s a crazy transition that you really, there’s not a lot of preparation for it, you’re just kind of thrown into it and it really is crazy. But I love that, I love that you’re doing that. That’s really cool.

So, Kylie, where is the best way for people to follow you on social media, that way they can keep up with everything that you’re doing and kind of be notified when you’re website is up, and everything else that you’re working on?

Kylie Buckner, RN: Well, funny you should ask. Because I actually don’t have a social media presence.

Kasey Johnson, DC: No!

Kylie Buckner, RN: I know! My one friend was like, “We need to get you something on social media, like something happening”, because I’ve kind of joked about being the unplugged yogi, especially with this move that we made down to Costa Rica, I feel so like, flying off the grid. But I can see that shifting for me as I start to launch some new things.

But for now, MyPlantBasedPregnancy.com, you can actually enter your email address for updates when it’s available. And, you know, I can also be found at Mastering Diabetes, so I would say right now the best places are MasteringDiabetes.org, and we have a phenomenal team there and if anybody is interested in hearing more, or working with me, they can get you in touch with me through that, Mastering Diabetes.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Perfect! And I’m also going to peer pressure Kylie to make an Instagram account this week. I’ll let you guys know what that is.

Kylie Buckner, RN: Thank you!

Kasey Johnson, DC: No, but I think you could reach a whole lot more, especially a whole lot more people that are either considering pregnancy or are already pregnant. Like, you can have so many people that are looking for it. So, it would be super beneficial to do that. But, no pressure! But kind of.

Kylie Buckner, RN: I know, right. It’s only the backburner of things. Like, that whole idea of launching is very, you know, there’s a lot around that. But yeah, definitely, I hear you! So, thank you, I’ll definitely work on get that started, because I agree that it would be awesome to connect with more people and to be able to just share what I’m doing, that’s kind of, sort of the point. I would love for people to have access to this information. So, if anybody has ever been starting out, and not sure where to go, if you have any information, send it my way.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Perfect! I’m excited for you, Kylie. And just, the closing question that I ask every guest, but if you just had one piece of advice for the audience, maybe it’s something that been your biggest takeaway through your whole wellness journey, but if you just had one piece of advice, what would it be?

Kylie Buckner, RN: I would say, listen to your body. Listen to your body, and trust what it’s saying to you. Get into that, how do you feel as you’re navigating whatever you’re doing. If you’re changing your diet, your body is so intuitive, and it has so many answers for you. So, just listen and tune in, and see what comes up.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Awesome. That’s perfect, Kylie. Love that. And thank you so much for taking the time to come on, I loved having you, and I can’t wait to see all of the work you put out. I’ll definitely share it all on my end as well, because I just think it’s super important as well. So, thank you so much.

Kylie Buckner, RN: You’re so welcome. Thank you very much, this is awesome. Thank you.

Kasey Johnson, DC: Thank you guys so much for listening to today’s episode, I hope you loved my conversation with Kylie. She’s doing so much positive work. So be sure to give her a follow on her Instagram page, once she gets that created, she’s working on it now. But you can keep up with her also on the Mastering Diabetes platforms, so you can give them a follow on social media and check their site to learn more about her as well. But you can find those links on the share notes, you can also find them on my website as well, at DrKaseyJohnson.com, that’s “d r k a s e y j o h n s o n” .com, click on the Listen tab, then from there you’ll be able to see all of the past guest that have come on the Unlock Wellness Podcast, read a little bit about each guest, and be able to click on their social media links, websites, all of that. So, all of Kylie’s information can be found on my site as well.

If you guys loved today’s episode with Kylie, be sure to jump onto iTunes, subscribe and write a review. It really helps me out a lot, and I really appreciate all of the feedback and support. Also, be sure to check out Patreon.com/DrKaseyJohnson, to learn more about how you can support the Unlock Wellness Podcast. Thank you guys so much again, for tuning in into today’s episode, I hope you loved it, I hope it inspires you, and most importantly, I hope you take action.

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.